Washington State has been cannabis-friendly for some time now, and they could become even friendlier towards the plant medicine, as legislation to reduce penalties for possessing and transferring certain amounts has recently been filed.
The measure is House Bill 1065. The House Committee on Commerce and Gaming held a public hearing on the matter in January; there was a majority in favor of the measure, publicly giving their approval of the bill.
Representatives Steve Kirby and Mia Gregerson originally filed the measure. Once passed, the proposal would bring about multiple positive changes to state cannabis laws. Penalties for possessing more than the legal one-ounce limit would be reduced. Adults who are 21 and older could also legally share up to half an ounce with others of legal age. Currently, doing so is a felony that could land someone in prison for up to 5 years.
Although it certainly contains more good than bad, the measure isn’t without its faults. The proposed bill would require proof of purchase of concentrates from a licensed retailer. If citizens are unable to produce the proof of purchase of seven to fourteen grams of concentrate, they can – and likely will – be charged with a misdemeanor civil infraction. If the concentrates were over 14 grams, the person would be charged with a felony. For all of the advancements the state has seen, these are some pretty harsh penalties. They likely stem from anti-pot hysteria coming from news outlets regarding the mythical dangers of high-grade cannabis products.
To sum up, the measure would reduce the penalties for possession and transfer of cannabis products. It would authorize adults 21 or older to give gives of marijuana products in amounts equal to a half ounce. It would require that those in possession of marijuana concentrates provide proof of purchase from a licensed retailer. The concentrates must also be accompanied by relevant packaging showing that the concentrates were purchased from a licensed cannabis retailer.
While the restrictions on concentrates have raised a few eyebrows, overall this measure is a positive one. In most states, there are little or no penalties for gifting someone bottles of booze. In fact, as long as you’re not making any money from it, you can probably gift your friends just about any amount of alcoholic beverages you’d like. If recreational cannabis is legal in Washington State, why should it be treated any differently?